Formula 1 returns after its mid-season break this weekend with one of the most famed Grand Prix’s of them all – the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa.
One of the favourite circuits on the calendar, drivers and fans alike love the Malmedy-based track.
The battle for the Drivers and Constructors Championship continues to be a fascinating one, with defending champion Lewis Hamilton seeing his lead stretched to 24 points after he finished ahead of rival Sebastian Vettel in Hungary.
Hamilton and Vettel – both multiple winners around Spa in the past – are embracing the pressure on them both.
“The pressure on me is as great as it can be, but I wouldn’t want it any other way,” said Hamilton. “I welcome it.”
Vettel is confident he can close the gap on Hamilton, beginning in Belgium.
“We know that we are a little bit behind but I don’t think it’s anything we can’t make up.
“I’ve been in a worst position in past years and still managed to turn it around by having the speed, so that will be the key.”
— #BelgianGP (@Racingnews2015) August 24, 2018
This weekend is the first time Daniel Ricciardo is racing for Red Bull since confirming his shock decision to switch to Renault next year.
“I guess I got to a point where I felt I was ready for a change,” he said.
“I was ready for a new challenge and for me personally some fresh motivation. Honda still need to really prove themselves at the front, but there wasn’t one key factor other than really myself and wanting to have a change of scenery.
His team-mate Max Verstappen – one of main reasons behind Ricciardo’s move due to the Dutchman being ranked as number one at Red Bull – was unsure of the timing.
“Of course everybody has moments in their career where you’re frustrated or you’re not happy with the current situation,” he said.
“I think everybody here wants to win races or wants to win championships but sometimes it’s not like that and you have to really be patient and work hard for it.”
BELGIUM GRAND PRIX – ROUND 13
Location: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Track size: 4.35 miles with 20 turns
Number of laps: 44
2017 winner: Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
Lap record holder: Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari – 1:46.577
Australian Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
Bahrain Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
China Grand Prix – Winner: Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Spain Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Monaco Grand Prix – Winner: Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
Canada Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
France Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Austria Grand Prix – Winner: Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
British Grand Prix – Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
German Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Hungary Grand Prix – Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
1 Lewis Hamilton GBR MERCEDES 213
2 Sebastian Vettel GER FERRARI 189
3 Kimi Räikkönen FIN FERRARI 146
4 Valtteri Bottas FIN MERCEDES 132
5 Daniel Ricciardo AUS RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 118
6 Max Verstappen NED RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 105
7 Nico Hulkenberg GER RENAULT 52
8 Kevin Magnussen DEN HAAS FERRARI 45
9 Fernando Alonso ESP MCLAREN RENAULT 44
10 Sergio Perez MEX FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 30
11 Carlos Sainz ESP RENAULT 30
12 Esteban Ocon FRA FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 29
13 Pierre Gasly FRA SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 26
14 Romain Grosjean FRA HAAS FERRARI 21
15 Charles Leclerc MON SAUBER FERRARI 13
16 Stoffel Vandoorne BEL MCLAREN RENAULT 8
17 Marcus Ericsson SWE SAUBER FERRARI 5
18 Lance Stroll CAN WILLIAMS MERCEDES 4
19 Brendon Hartley NZL SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 2
20 Sergey Sirotkin RUS WILLIAMS MERCEDES 0
1 MERCEDES 345
2 FERRARI 335
3 RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 223
4 RENAULT 82
5 HAAS FERRARI 66
6 FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 59
7 MCLAREN RENAULT 52
8 SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 28
9 SAUBER FERRARI 18
10 WILLIAMS MERCEDES 4
We also spoke with Alistair Gill of Unibet to get their views on the GP
F1 returns from its summer break with a trip to Belgium in store for the teams.
Unsurprisingly Lewis Hamilton leads the pack as far as race odds are concerned, although this time round he has Sebastian Vettel for company, both drivers priced at 13/10 for the win and 11/50 to make the podium. Hamilton is the punters pick and is seeing the early money.
He will be hoping to extend his lead at the top pf the Drivers Championship, in which he is a runaway odds on favourite priced at 2/5. Although he looks to be in fine form and it will take quite an effort in the second half of the season to catch him, with the lead at only 24 points Vettel is hardly out of it and could represent some value at 7/4.
Although it has to be said it’s a value play more than anything and the Silver Arrows man is firmly in the drivers seat.